The Shelter Medicine Program delivers specialized training for the shelter medical professionals of today and tomorrow, provides consultation services to animal shelters, and researches the most critical threats to successful animal sheltering and community well-being. Veterinary students at the University of Florida can complete an intensive series of elective courses to earn a Professional Certificate in Shelter Medicine, signifying they have the knowledge, experience, and wisdom to join a shelter and make an immediate positive impact. Training programs for veterinarians include the year-long Shelter Medicine Internship Program and the Shelter Consultation Mentorship Program to prepare the experts and future leaders in the Shelter Medicine field.
To provide veterinary students and practitioners with the specialized knowledge and skills to prevent and heal the medical and emotional wounds of sheltered animals, to improve community safety nets for access to needed care for marginalized animals and families, and to promote the best outcome for every at-risk animal. This mission is delivered through the following core strategies:
- Education of veterinary students and practitioners in the problems of homeless animals, population-level and individual animal care in shelters, and community programs that reduce the number of animals needing intervention by shelters
- Advanced training of residents, interns, and fellows to become experts and future leaders in the shelter medicine specialty field
- Outreach field services to support shelters with proactive strategies for protecting the health and well-being of their organization’s animals and personnel and emergency interventions such as disease outbreaks, large-scale cruelty cases, and disaster response
- Research to develop and disseminate new knowledge to solve existing and emerging threats to successful sheltering programs
Our vision is an army of practice-ready shelter veterinarians who have the passion and skills to make an immediate positive impact for shelter animals and the communities in which they live. The Shelter Medicine Program is grateful to Maddie’s Fund for sharing this vision and whose support from 2008-2022 made the program possible.